By: Phillip Sternitzke- @PSpepper
In the video game industry, there are different levels when it comes to game publishers. There are smaller companies like Devolver Digital, and multi-billion dollar corporations like Electronic Arts; then there’s Rockstar Games. Rockstar is a game publisher that owns several development studios around the world, and they are the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Rockstar is most well known for developing and publishing the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise. Since its debut, GTA has gone on to become one of the best selling and most acclaimed franchises of all time, and made Rockstar into the company it is today. Despite the success of that series, many will argue that none of the GTA titles are Rockstar’s best game. Many will claim that it was a little old title from 2010 called “Red Dead Redemption.”
“Red Dead Redemption” was developed by Rockstar San Diego over the course of about 4-6 years. At the time of its release, it was one of the most expensive games ever made; but at least the money went to good use. Upon its launch, the game was lauded for its story, characters, writing; open world, combat, and soundtrack, later winning dozens of major “Game of the Year” awards. Since then, RDR has become widely considered as one of the greatest games ever made. Coupled with impressive sales figures, many expected a sequel to be announced; but it never came. Since late 2010, Rockstar has never mentioned anything about another RDR game; they just moved on to other work. But on October 16, Rockstar gave the fans something; a picture. Rockstar put up a photo on their Twitter changing their logo to red, and everyone lost their minds thinking that it was RDR related (since RDR was associated with the color red). While many wrote it off, the following day Rockstar put up another picture on their Twitter; this time showing several cowboys in front of a sun silhouette. Assuring their fans that an announcement was on its way. And the following day they confirmed it; one last picture confirming that “Red Dead Redemption 2” was in development and scheduled for fall 2017. After years of speculation, fans had their answer.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why is he talking so much about this company and their games?” Simple, because those three pictures acted entirely as an advertising campaign. Between those three tweets, they received over 760 thousand likes and 380 thousand re-tweets. Most companies would dream of that kind of exposure, but the marketing doesn’t stop there. While this was going on, and ever since, countless news organizations have been talking about this game. From game sites to major publications, the news of this game hasn’t stopped; hype is just naturally being built for this game. And the funny part is that Rockstar barely did anything, and didn’t even pay for the publicity. All they did was release three pictures, and a minute long teaser trailer a few days later, and they’ve managed to become one of the most talked about games of the year. Other publishers pay tens of millions to get this level of hype, which really shows that Rockstar is the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to the game industry.